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Account by Captain Leclerc de Villevocques, who abridged certain details to avoid overlong passages. On 25 December 1775, I was first mate aboard La Bonne Espéranceout of Bordeaux, under Captain Lartigaut. At four in the afternoon in foggy weather we experienced winds out of the northwest at last quarter flood. My opinion was to spend the night on the open sea in order to berth during the day. We prepared for this, but night fell at low tide, and I proposed that we weigh anchor in order to avoid being driven by the currents. My words were ignored, and the tide, thrusting us through the straits, drove us into the Grave channel and we missed the opening of the river, wrecking on the Pointe de Grave. We had made a thirty-three-day crossing, our insurance notices did not arrive, and I lost everything I owned. [...] Archives Nationales, Mar C-7-174 dossier Leclerc de Villevocques, f°1. Research : G. Philoux ; cliché J.L. Lahitte/Coredo ; transcription : Marie Lakermance/Drassm.
Versailles, 15 February 1873 By dispatch dated 18 February no. 39 Note for the minister The Rochefort Maritime Prefect has sent three proposals for merit awards for the various rescuers who risked their lives to save the crew and passengers of the English steamship Germany. The vessel was lost on 21 December 1872 on the La Coubre sandbank, under horrific conditions that have profoundly stirred public opinion. In presenting these proposals to His Excellency, I have the honour of noting that Rear Admiral Moulac has put forward for the Croix de Chevalier of the Legion of Honour one of the rescuers, Joseph Tristan, seamen second class registered at Groix, f° 13092, no. 92, owner of the fishing vessel J.T. Under these difficult circumstances, this sailor displayed commendable courage and devotion, and was of major help in saving the shipwrecked passengers, one hundred of whom he brought aboard and took to La Rochelle. I know the extent to which the Minister appreciates acts of devotion such as the one carried out by Mr Tristan, and thus I have the honour of proposing to His Excellency to put the name of this brave sailor on the list of candidates for the Legion of Honour. Le commissaire général Directeur des services administratifs Ministère de la Marine et ses colonies- 3° direction des services administratifs Service Historique de la Marine, Paris- CC4110 dossier 6 f°1, recto and verso. Research: G. Philoux;Photo: J.L. Lahitte/Coredo;Transcription: M. Lakermance/Drassm.
[…] Since the three-master Gunhilda broke up on the rocks of Cordouan on 10 January, the following morning we saw the call for rescue flag flying from the lighthouse, and it was hoped that the crew had reached the tower, but the state of the weather and the ocean did not allow us to communicate. On the 12th, the sea still seemed too rough and the steamship remained in port. It was then that the three brave men, whose names are given opposite, resolved to make an attempt anyway. They left on the small sloop Les Deux Frères, and reached the tower in a bark; they brought back to Royan six out of the twelve shipwrecked individuals, including the captain and a wounded man, who were immediately given the necessary care. Six seamen still remained at the tower; they arrived the following day via the steamship Eclaireur. Two more perished in the wreck […] Marine et Colonies. Direction des services administratifs. Proposition de récompense pour fait de sauvetage 4e arrondissement maritime, sous-arrondissement de Rochefort, quartier de Royan (extrait du registre) SHM -CC4116 dossier 18 F°2-3 Research: G. Philoux;Photo: J.L. Lahitte/Coredo;Transcription: M. Lakermance/Drassm.
1st division, Navy Ports bureau Paris; 29 Pluviôse, Year 7 of the French Republic Report The Commissaire principal and the chiefs of staff at Bordeaux, in reporting to the Minister the wreck of the captured American ship Le Pigeon, which was lost on the Olives sandbank, announced that thirteen Frenchmen and four Englishmen had been saved thanks to the humanity and intrepidness of a Danish captain, François Mauglars, commander of the Etoile du Nord. This brave man, despite the dreadful weather, had the courage to moor on the Olives sandbank itself, but later was forced to cut his lines and abandon his anchor. […] Service Historique de la Marine, Paris, BB-1-17 f°103 Research : G. Philoux ; cliché J.L. Lahitte/Coredo ; transcription : M. Lakermance/Drassm.
Sirs. I was informed that a report was filed with your clerk on 18 February according to which it appears that the coasting pilot Guisard from St Palais was accused of having, through ignorance, brought about the loss of the vessel Le Sage near the tower of Cordouan, and it was pointed out to me that this pilot has done the same thing with 2 or 3 other ships. Misdeeds of this nature affect trade too much to allow them to be tolerated. I as you to inform me of the result of the legal proceedings that will be taken at the request of the Procureur du Roi, so that I may make a report to His Majesty to the king. I remain, Sirs, your humble and obedient servant. Versailles le 2 April 1755 Archives Nationales - Mar. C-4-76 f° 82, 83, 114 Research : G. Philoux ; cliché J.L. Lahitte/Coredo ; transcription : M. Lakermance/Drassm.
Bordeaux, 6 February 1770 Wreck of the vessel Le Solide Loss of court letters Monseigneur The vessel Le Solide, belonging to sieur David Gravis was lost on the first of this month at 8 in the evening, on the rocks of Cordouan through the negligence of the pilot; fortunately, the entire crew was saved, the merchant sieur Gachet, who was aboard, had been charged with handing over to me letters from the Prince de Rohan and the President de Bonyars for the purpose of giving them to you. They were lost in the wreck. I have the honour of respectfully being Monseigneur Your most humble and obedient servant D'Aubenton Archives Nationales- Mar. B-3-589 f°244r-244 verso Research : G. Philoux ; cliché J.L. Lahitte/Coredo ; transcription : M. Lakermance/Drassm.
2e direction 6e bureau Police de la navigation Paris le 17 February 1824 A M. Bergevin, Commissaire général de la Marine at Bordeaux Wreck of the British ship Robert Observations Sir, in your letter of 27 January you reported on the wreck of the English ship Robert, a 300-tonne vessel (loaded with coal and bound for Bordeaux), which, on the night of 23-24 of that same month was lost with all hands on the sandbanks of Cordouan, in the Pauillac district. I note that the commissaire for this district has visited the site to oversee the salvage of all objects that have come to shore, and which he will sell for the benefit of the interested parties, because, according to you, the British Consul at Bordeaux will not intervene in the matter. [… ] Service Historique de la Marine, Paris- CC-4-1043 f°26recto Research: G. Philoux ; cliché J.L. Lahitte/Coredo ; transcription: M. Lakermance/Drassm.
13 December  The ship known as La Rose, out of St Sébastien, captain don Manuel de Rippé, was wrecked on the rocks of Cordouan, loaded with iron, hoops, sharpening stones and other effects according to the declaration of the captain on the aforementioned day, Nothing remains of the wreck, the salvaged goods having been claimed. Archives Nationales- Mar. C-4-175 f°1153 Research: G. Philoux ; cliché J.L. Lahitte/Coredo ; transcription: M. Lakermance/Drassm.
Following a magnetometric site scan carried out in 1995 by H.D. Liszkowski, a series of remains were found in the vicinity of the Olives sandbank at least 800 metres south of the Cordouan lighthouse. An anchor, six cannons, and a cast-iron cannonball were also located on the ocean floor at a depth of 5 to 6 metres. In 1996, it was decided, with the agreement of the Drassm, to remove five of the six cannons (including three carronades). All of the weapons were treated by the Arc' Antique laboratory at Nantes. While boring one of the cannons, a complete charge was found. This rare object consists of a cloth powder bag, a set of three wads made of hemp, a cast-iron cannonball and a metal box with a wooden lid containing 21 small pellets of grape-shot. One of the three carronades had a cartouche at the level of the breech bearing the inscription W.G.&.S, which could indicate the name of the English foundry of William Graham and Son, based near London17. Another artillery piece displayed the date of 180818, which should one day help identify the ship that was wrecked on this spot.
The wreck located in the Anse de la Chambrette at Verdon-sur-Mer was spotted by the local inhabitants in 2002. It appears that the wreck became uncovered due to work on the nearby port that shortened the beach as a result. An investigation, carried out at equinoctial tide, was carried out in 2003 by M. L'Hour et E. Veyrat (Drassm/MCC) in collaboration with C. Dagneau and O. Hulot. With the help of a mechanical shovel, the wreck and its environment were freed from the sediment. The remains of the wreck measured 12.38m, but the ship must have originally been 15m long, with a maximum width of four metres. The ship had a bridge both fore and aft, and probably a mast. A deckbeam will still in situ at the aft of the vessel, although it had fallen from its place on the port side. It probably defined the aft bridged area. The rudder was still in place, up against the stern-post to port. Dendrochronological dating, architectural analysis and a study of the objects found near the ship – particularly a small pitcher with pouring spout and a wooden comb – gave rise to the hypothesis of a small craft for either waterways or the sea, probably from the 16th century.
This wreck, which was found on the beach about one hundred meters from the shore, between the Pointe de la Coubre and Saint-Palais, made its appearance in the wake of sedimentary shifts in 2005. It is 18 metres long, with an estimated width of 6 metres at the midship frame; when it emerged from the sediment, it was preserved along only half of its base. This structural characteristic is indicative of flat-bottomed boats. Initial observations and material evidence points to the hypothesis of a cargo ship dating to somewhere between the 18th and 19th centuries. A cast-iron swivel-gun and a measuring weight bearing a coat of arms were found at the site. The light artillery piece still had the crutch used to attach it to the rigging and thus contribute to the vessel's defence, and its aiming handle is datable to the 18th–19th centuries. The lead weight displayed the coat of arms of the city of Bordeaux, and the heraldry indicates a date between 1814 and 1830. As it was considered to be a hazard for swimmers, the wreck was destroyed after being documented by Jean-François Mariotti of the Poitou-Charentes Regional Archaeology Service.
Bordeaux, le 12 brumaire On sait aujourd'hui le nom du navire américain qui s'est perdu ces jours derniers près Cordouan, et qui était destiné pour ce port ; c'est la Confidence, de 36 tonneaux, cap. Tristam Bedman, de Bath, dans l'Amérique septentrionale. Les renseignements qu'on avait données sur la perte entiere de l'équipage sont faux ; un seul homme a perd la vie. Le chargement de ce navire consiste en planches, bois, mâtures et pieces de construction. Les personnes qui auraient des réclamations à faire au sujet de ce navire peuvent s'adresser au cit. Thomas, commissionnaire à Royan. Moniteur Universel, An 11 Vendemiaire Ventôse F°320-AN. Detail
Moniteur An 11 Vendemiaire Ventôse F°320-AN. Detail
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